London: England`s saviour in the second innings, Matt Prior has said that it will take a lot of effort from his team to win the first Test against India at Lord`s.
"There are a lot of runs in the wicket. There are no devils, it`s a pretty good deck and still has a huge amount of runs in it. Their batting is very strong and a lot of hard work is ahead of us," stated Prior whose unbeaten 103 was the cornerstone around which England scored 269 for six in their second innings and set India a target of 458.
"It`s a kind of wicket where you could go for an hour without the wicket and then could have a silly hour where you pick 3-4 wickets. We would do it the way we always do trying to do well in the first half an hour, then hour and from then on sessions."
India escaped with a draw four years ago at this venue when rain and an unbeaten 76 by Mahendra Singh Dhoni helped the visitors cling on to their 1-0 lead.
"It`s very important it doesn`t happen this time. Test wins against quality opposition doesn`t come about often. We are in good position and the way to take wickets is to bowl in good areas and put pressure. That`s the way we have done it in the last two years," the wicketkeeper-batsman said.
Prior admitted that the team`s position in the morning when it lost five wickets, made him very, very nervous.
"I didn`t expect to bat before lunch. I was looking at the menu and that sort of thing and suddenly I was taking my guard. I wanted to first build a stand, settle everything else the crowd was noisy, the Indians were up for it and Ishant had his heels up.”
"I was pretty nervous walking out at 60 for 5. Having played so well for the first three days, we wanted to choose to declare. It was important we were calm and get rid of that position."
Prior did not feel there was any difference in intensity between the Indian effort in two innings, but he was surprised when he saw Suresh Raina start proceedings in the afternoon.
"I don`t think there was huge difference in intensity. Probably this time we nicked balls which we didn`t nick in the first innings. Luck always plays a part in this game.”
"As for Suresh Raina, I was a little bit surprised. Between the break, me and Broad were discussing who we were coming up against on resumption."
A criticism levelled against England was that they didn`t put too many close-in fielders when India batted.
"It`s a type of wicket you can`t over-attack. You want your bowlers to bowl fuller length and look to swing it, but to have some cover to go with it. There`s not a lot of pace in this wicket and you can`t allow Indians to get some easy runs.”
"If it`s swinging we would have more fielders close to the bat and build pressure."
This was Prior`s third ton at Lord’s, his sixth overall in 44 Tests, something which could put him alongside Dhoni and Kumar Sangakkara as the most dominant wicketkeeper-batsmen.
"The competition always inspires me. You always want to do better than your opposite number and it also helps the team. As for Dhoni, he is a quality player. I have got a good start but there is a full series which lies ahead.”
"I made my debut here and always love coming back. There is a bit of luck and things have gone my way. Sometimes things just happen that way, there is no necessary reason for that and hopefully it would continue."
Prior has a challenger in Craig Kieswetter for the position behind the stumps, but he doesn`t mind it at all.
"It`s a fickle world. As long as I am scoring runs and catching more than dropping, I am happy. It`s a huge series for these reasons. In international sports, it not how you get into those challenges but how you come out of it and what you have learnt, the demons you have conquered - that is important. “